Hola, from your Leaders of the Day, Robin and Layla.
This morning, we had an unexpected wakeup call at 6am, due to yesterday’s power outage. As a result, we decided to prioritize the CAP over everything else and wake up an hour earlier to make sure we could accomplish as much as possible before the day was over. After a sluggish morning, we and the community were happy to see the determination in everyone’s faces. Once we arrived, everyone dispersed and put themselves to work. At first we were intimidated by the amount of work to be finished with so little time, but were pleasantly surprised to see the abundance of children and parents that were ready to help.
We spent the next few hours painting children’s feet for footprint patterns, passing buckets of rocks down an assembly line of children, washing paint off our hands in trash cans of river water, and learning life lessons from digging holes in the ground. Everyone maintained a positive attitude until we realized that we had far more obstacles than we had anticipated and no solution. As leaders of the day we frantically attempted to figure how we would build a bridge without wood or drill holes without a drill. The panic spread, which made things even worse. Luckily, with the efuerzo (effort) of everyone, we were able to survive. Sandy, our bus driver, voluntarily wandered the city for a truck that could bring our wood to a hardware store, and Camilo scavenged the community for a drill. Still, we struggled to finish the park before the end of the day. Despite everyone’s efuerzo, successful completion seemed unlikely. The remaining couple of hours were hectic, as we rushed to work with the little we had. Many hopes began to fall as we were counting down the time and we still had nothing built. As leaders, we felt helpless, as we wanted people to stay encouraged and engaged. The temperature started rising, the power tools were malfunctioning, we were low on materials, and no one had solutions.
It was 2 o’clock, we had half an hour left, and we still had nothing. The majority of the delegation and the community had come to term with the fact that we’d have to end the day with nothing for the children the play on. At 2:30, sadly, that was the case. We made our way indoors to share a round of appreciation amongst the group and the community, and sulked in disappointment. We spent the next half hour thanking each other for everyone’s hard work and spreading our love. By 3, we were headed out to get back on the bus and head back to our hotel. However, we were all amazed to see a nearly finished bridge and swing structure to our lefts. We rushed to see if what we were seeing was really true and greeted the slightly completed park with big smiles. Everyone gathered for one last time to put the final touches on the bridge, and within moments it was off the ground and ready for flight.
Eventually, we were all seated in the very hot bus that had been waiting for us all day. Some tears were shed as we waved goodbye to all of our new but old friends, and Sandy drove us home. As we drove away, we were lucky and were able to catch a glimpse of the kids already enjoying the bridge. Even after an exhausting day of non-stop work, as we saw them attacking the bridge with excitement, all our feelings of accomplishment, pride, and joy, pour out in smiles, hugs, and tears.
And one last time – uno, dos, tres! Gracias a todos!